Ted Tortoise races again!


Harry Hare lived in a burrow in the nearby hillock. He was afraid that the rains would flood his home. So he decided to find a new shelter.

“ Hi, Ted Tortoise,” he grinned mischievously.

His red eyes sparkled bright. A naughty idea began to grow in his mind.

“ The grass is greener on the hill ,” Harry Hare said, “ Why don’t you take your family to the burrow, while I live in the cave?”

Ted Tortoise did not like it at all. He had been living in the cosy, warm cave for years.

Harry Hare had arrived only weeks back at the countryside.

“ Well Ted,” said Harry, “ How about a race? If I win, I move into the cave…and if I lose,I leave this countryside and return to the busy city I came from.”  

“ Fine,” said Tortoise Ted slowly,” If you so insist. I don’t have much of a choice, do I?”

“ If you love to listen to bad old things such as : as slow as a tortoise… and  bad new things as, slow and steady do not win the race,” laughed  out Harry Hare, “ And you don’t feel the hurt through your thick skin…I mean, your shell …”

Ted was indeed tired of listening to tortoises being losers. He decided to take up  Harry’s challenge.

“ Alright,” spoke Ted Tortoise boldly, “ I will race with you to the top of that hillock in exactly a  year’s time.”

“ A year’s wait ?” Harry Hare pricked up his long, white ears. He looked up at the dark sky , worried.

“ Oh, why not?” said Harry Hare and whispered to himself,” I will beat this fool anyway.”

“ Don’t  worry,” said Tortoise Ted with a warm smile, “ During the rainy season, you be my special guest and stay in the cave with my family.”

“ Thank you, friend Ted,” Harry Hare said flatteringly, “ I always thought tortoises were dumb. But you carry so much grey matter in such a tiny head.”  

“ We must shower our guest with comfort, “ Tortoise Ted said to his wife, “ Let him snuggle on my comfy bed.”

“ What a superb cave!” Harry Hare smiled, almost sure that he will win over the cave after the race, “ Can you provide for me a healthy diet of plump red carrots as well?”

Ted Tortoise took his wife aside and whispered into her ears.

“ My Brother Fred grows the finest, tastiest carrots in the country,” Ted spoke aloud, “ I am sending my wife to fetch them for you.”

“ Oh, thank you! Thank you!” Harry Hare hopped about in joy. Tortoise Ted’s wife took almost a week to disappear out of sight.

The rains lashed the hillside. The burrow was brimming with water, the cave was warm and dry.

Harry Hare was starving for the fat, juicy carrots he dreamed of in his slumber.

After three long months, Ted’s wife returned to the cave.

“ Where are the carrots?” asked Harry Hare, peeping at the empty basket sadly.

“ How foolish, at times, hares can get,” said Ted’s wife smartly, “ A fat well fed rabbit can  never run a race.”

“ You are so right,” wondered Harry Hare, “ I must stay lean and trim to win.”

Harry Hare smiled. He was sure to win the race anyway.

He was sure that the cave would be his after the race.

A year whisked past.

The big day for the famous hare and tortoise race arrived.

Ted Tortoise stuck his head out of the cave. The sun yawned.

“ Best of luck, Ted,” said Harry Hare, “ Only the smartest and fastest will win the
race.”

Harry Hare took one big hop and hop…hop…hop…he went up the hillock.

He never stopped, crouched, closed his eyes. He never turned back.

When he reached the top he was in for a great surprise.

Tortoise was at the top of the hillock, a-smile.

Harry surrendered.

“ Well Ted, you have won,” Harry Hare spoke sadly, “ I will leave the countryside as promised.”  

And he did.

The following autumn, Fred Tortoise joined brother Ted and his wife in their cave and celebrated at a grand party.

“ Harry Hare was smart and fast,” Tortoise Fred’s laughter echoed in the hills, “ Only he  could not tell one tortoise from another.”
 

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